Appropriate Technology at Cal Poly and
Guateca: the Two Month Summer School in Guatemala

California Polytechnic State University and the community of San Pablo,Tacana, Guatemala (elevation: 10,000′) are collaborating in multidisciplinary classes culminating with a two-month Appropriate Technology summer school in San Pablo, “Guateca”, for 20 Cal Poly students and 20 San Pablo college students.

Guateca aims to improve the quality of life for both Guatemalans and North Americans by developing local sustainable businesses to strengthen the local and regional economy. At Cal Poly we have interdisciplinary service learning, team-oriented, project-based classes similar to MIT’s “D-Lab”. The Cal Poly classes offer students cultural and historical appreciation of international development, year round direct interaction with San Pablo leaders and students, a 12-day Winter Research Trip in December, hands-on appropriate technology prototyping, and sustainable business development with a tangible opportunity to test these businesses in San Pablo.

Guateca’s intended output is a group of young entrepreneurs in San Pablo, a valuable exchange student experience at Cal Poly for two San Pablo villagers each year, and for all students: enhanced intercultural awareness, technical competence, and innovative skills. We have a long-term relationship with San Pablo, a community with a history of grass-roots organization prioritizing education, technology and innovation. In summer 2010, we began codeveloping the Guateca program with San Pablo community leaders with the following objectives: (1) to develop an experiential education program (2) to co-design, improve, and prototype technologies, and (3) to create student-lead businesses in San Pablo. In the 2010-2011 academic year, groups of students at Cal Poly and San Pablo have begun co-developing the jointly proposed projects.

We seek funding for transportation expenses, teaching tools, construction materials, seed capital, and to support workshops from entrepreneurs.

A list of the current group projects with group members involved can be found on our Projects in San Pablo page. The individual projects are: Nutrition, Alternate Energy, Organic Agriculture, Housing, Sanitation, Education, Solar Water Heating, Packaging, and Cooking

Other partners include Working Villages International in D. R. Congo. Please read more about past and present projects at .

Current Events

Go to the Guateca Summer School 2011 page for more information and online application!


The third part of the Appropriate Technology series is available this spring!
Two courses are offered — IT 428 and AGB 450. Each will focus on sustainable business development practices and include a facet that addresses our Guatemalan project, Guateca. Students associated with the Guateca Program may be exempt from the listed course prerequisites. Please email the appropriate instructor before registration to request a permission number.

IT 428 — Lou Tornatzky (ltornatz@calpoly.edu)
AGB 450 — Steven E. Slezak (sslezak@calpoly.edu)

If you have questions please contact Pete Schwartz (pschwart@calpoly.edu) or the instructor of the course you are interested in.


Bioneers Fundraiser
A huge thank you to Bioneers and everyone who came for dinner to support Guateca!!